Forget the silly Meatball Madness puns you might make, because the quality of the food at this year's event was no joke. Mia Dona's Donatella Arpaia came away victorious, but not without some stiff competition from The Meatball Shop and Pulino's.
Spicy Pork Meatballs with Spicy Meat Sauce and Polenta (Meatball Shop).
Mini Meatball Hero (Co.)
Roasted Veal Meatlball with Black Truffle Glaze and Herbed Polenta (Ciano)
PB&J Italian Ice (Led Zeppole)
Meatball Madness Host Giada De Laurentiis.
Imagine a swanky hotel, a booming live blues band, and air thick with the smell of bacon, and you should have a good impression of the scene at Bacon, Bourbon & The Blues. Hosted by Todd English, event guests enjoyed a selection of porky bites including RUB BBQ's house cured bacon. And to drink? A bacon-infused bourbon cocktail, naturally.
House Cured & Smoked Bacon and Berkshire Pork Belly (RUB BBQ)
Crispy Pork Rillette Sliders (Ça Va).
Despite Good Stuff Eatery's (and last year's champ) Spike Mendelsohn donning a crown and red-velvet cape, ultimately Shake Shack took home the most votes – maybe it was their milkshakes and cute outfits.
Chipotle Bacon Cheeseburger with Secret Sauce and Maple Stout (The Dutch)
Pig Tail Cocktail with bacon-infused whiskey.
Steak House Burger and Sweet Potato Fries (67 Burger).
After climbing the treacherous stairs of the Soho loft where Tacos & Tequila was held this year, guests were greeted by a large, white and tantalizing Patron station in the middle of the room. Bartenders wielded strong cocktails that were perfect for pairing with the delicious array of tacos – until they ran out of tequila.
Fish Taco with Pico de Gallo (Mondrian SoHo)
Shredded Beef Tacos with Cotija Cheese (Sueños).
Shrimp Alhinho Tacos (Aldea).
Oenophiles and wine professionals duked it out in this elimination-style, seven-round showdown. And while the culminating East Coast v. West Coast sommelier face-off was the stuff of epic silver screen drama, Wine Rapper J$ (a Captain at The Modern) stole the show with rhymes that set Chateaux Neuf du Pape to Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot."
Sommelier Jordan Salcito (Nick and Toni’s, East Hampton).
Master Sommelier Richard Betts.
Sommelier Showdown winner Michael Madrigale (sommelier, Bar Boulud).
Six courses at Del Posto--each prepared by a different star chef, including Mark Ladner, Cesare Casella, and Lidia Bastianich. Each dish was served with two blind wine pairings, and seated at the table was a renowned sommelier to guide you through the tasting experience.
Wines were served blind then revealed after each course.
Tyler Florence, the host of the festival's inaugural Sandwich Showdown had just one question for the audience: "Did you you know you could have this much fun between two slices of bread?" The team from Blue Ribbon clearly did-- taking home the big win for their excellent Bone Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade Sandwich.
Bone Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade Sandwich (Blue Ribbon).
Dericious Cheesesteak and Chairman Bao (Baohaus).
Mini Lobster Roll with Foie Gras (The Lobster Place).